Philadelphia Inquirer: The Wine School vs. WWE

Posted by Keith Wallace

The story was originally published by the Philadelphia Inquirer on October 13, 2009. It appeared in the Features Magazine on page D02. The article is reprinted solely for educational purposes.  It is intended to offer insight into the history of Wine Education in Philadelphia, and our place within that history. Links to the original article and author are given below.

Inqlings: The Wine School vs. WWE

Author: Michael Klein; Inquirer Columnist

World Wrestling Entertainment is going to the mat against the Wine School of Philadelphia. WWE, which trademarked the term Smackdown years ago, is fighting the Wine School’s attempt to register Sommelier Smackdown for its grape-centric competitions.

Last month, WWE law firm K&L Gates sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Fairmount business, which started Sommelier Smackdowns in 2007.”I feel kind of special,” said Keith Wallace. “I am being picked on by Vince McMahon. I better start working out.” In a note to friends, he wrote that he was calling out McMahon and wrestlerChris Jericho to a wine-tasting double-team cage match.

Wallace calls smackdown a generic term – “and they’re trying to bully us. I mean, the word is even in the freakin’ dictionary.” WWE lawyer Christopher Verdini, who signed the cease-and-desist letter, did not return my call for comment. Que syrah, syrah.

Contact columnist Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or [email protected]. Read his blog at He’s also on Twitter: @phillyinsider.

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